For Good Health, Open Wide

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If, at your next visit to your primary care physician, your doctor says “open wide” and begins to examine your mouth, don’t worry. And if, at your next trip to the dentist, you get checked for oral cancer and are asked questions about your physical health, it’s a good thing. And all to your benefit.

As medical researchers have discovered that infections in the mouth can lead to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory conditions like pneumonia, physicians and dentists are taking notice. There’s a growing recognition that, medically, the mouth is indeed an integral part of overall health and no longer totally separate from the rest of the body.

The Massachusetts Dental Society’s program of Connect the Dots and the Massachusetts Medical Society’s new Committee on Oral Health are two examples of a growing relationship between the professions.

The May episode of Physician Focus, Oral Health, takes a closer look at this collaborative effort and how it benefits patients.

Guests Hugh Silk, M.D., M.P.H., a family physician, Chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Oral Health, and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Michael Wasserman, D.D.S., a general dentist in Pittsfield, Mass. and President of the Massachusetts Dental Society, join host and primary care physician Bruce Karlin, M.D. for the discussion.

Among the topics of conversation are how oral health affects overall physical health, the obstacles to good oral health, the importance of dental insurance, oral cancers, fluoridation, and how physicians and dentists are working together on behalf of their patients.

Please join us on Physician Focus during May for a different kind of health care discussion. It’s not often you’ll see a physician and dentist sitting side by side.

Photo: From left, Bruce Karlin, M.D., Hugh Silk, M.D., Michael Wasserman, D.D.S.